I WAS chief executive of Worcester Live for 24 years.

When I took over Huntingdon Hall, which was on the verge of bankruptcy in 1995, and later, when I took over the bankrupt and closed Swan Theatre, one of the main priorities was to de-politicise the decisions regards those buildings specifically and the arts generally.

There were at that time strong political differences about what money should be spent on the arts and how that money should be used.

Politics are part of just about everything in life, but at local level, they should not be part of arts decisions and I think that this was achieved in Worcester for pretty much the last 20 years.

Nationally, it’s different, in fact it’s very difficult at the present time not to get political about the arts.

You can go to the pub, but not the theatre. You can go to the cinema but not the theatre. You can go to work but not the theatre. You can go to school but not the theatre. You can go grouse-shooting (can’t wait!) but not the theatre.

This despite the fact that theatres can trace everybody who buys a ticket, can socially distance and will by and large attract an audience that will follow all rules meticulously.

Meanwhile, theatres are dying. Does anybody in the Government care? I don’t think so.